The Bad Muslim Discount, a review by Amy

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Bad Muslim Discount
Syed Masood
368 pages

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“If you try to understand one other person, you learn love. If you try to understand many, you become wise.”

Masood tells the struggles of two Muslim immigrant families with the perfect balance of wit and poignancy. Divisive, hard topics are some of the most difficult to write about in a way that builds bridges and brings true visibility. Yet Masood has managed to do both.

We meet Anvar as fundamentalists threaten his home country of Pakistan forcing his father to move his family to the safety of America. At the same time, we meet Safwa/Azza as she barely survives the abominable violence around her, as well as the depth of grief within, creating a need for her to find a way, ANY way, to get her and her father to the freedom found in the United States.

But safety is elusive, and freedom means many different things, even in America.

This is a timely and provocative look at the immigrant experience that made me thoughtfully examine it’s realities.

It’s not all seriousness though. There is plenty of irreverent humor that will keep you laughing while allowing you to process the story as it unfolds. One of my favorite, lost in translation moments is when Anwar is called a “pedantic little son of an owl.”

At our core, humans long for acceptance. Constantly looking for a place to fit in. Race, nationality, religion, gender…none of that changes those primal desires. But what if you feel like you belong somewhere that you aren’t accepted?

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